In September 1996 a group of top-flight sailors travelled from around the world to Lake Garda for a trial of many different classes, to see which would go forward as the new twin-trapeze skiff for the Olympics in Sydney 2000. After an intensive week of trialing various designs, the 49er proved to be the clear favorite with the sailors, and by November 1996 it had been ratified as the new Olympic skiff. Builders around the world worked at full capacity for the first year, and for the class's first international regatta - the European Championships held in Weymouth in September 1997 - there were already 80 boats competing. To a 49er sailor, speed is everything. The skiff is capable of speeds of over 20 knots.
It's hard to imagine that a boat that looks so up to date as the 49er has been around for a decade already. Almost a thousand boats later, it has become a modern design classic. Dave Hall comments: 'The 49er is the boat by which all others are judged, and it has changed the face of sailing. It has brought skiff sailing to everyone. We've got boats that match today's era, they look appropriate for the 21st century, and they bring high-performance thrills for low cost and very little maintenance.
|Name: 49er Symbol:|
|Designer: Julian Bethwaite Year: 1995|
|Crew||2 (double trapeze)||Draft||1,447 mm (4 ft 9 in)||Mainsail area||16.10 m2 (173,3 sq ft)|
|LOA||4,876 mm (16 ft)||Hull weight||74.25 kg (163.7 lb)
|Jib area||5.10 m2 (54,9 sq ft)|
|Beam||without wings: 1,752 mm (5 ft 9 in)
with wings: 2,743 mm (9 ft 0 in)
|Hull length||5 m (16,4 ft)||Spinnaker area||37.16 m2 (400 sq ft)|